2017 Legislative Priority: Increase Supports for Homeless Youth
Updated: May 15, 2017
House & Senate Include Important Provisions in Proposed Budgets
When youth do not have a safe, secure, and stable place to live, their health and schooling can be gravely impacted — and it can set them up for long-lasting negative outcomes. That is why Texas Appleseed and the Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) continue to advocate for youth who have experienced, or are currently experiencing, homelessness. We are also excited to work in partnership with these youth to ensure their voices are heard – they’re integral to creating sound solutions.
This session, Texas Appleseed and TNOYS have been urging lawmakers to allot $3 million over the biennium to specifically support efforts to help youth who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. These funds should support, among other things, emergency shelters designed for youth or young adults, transitional living programs, as well as street outreach and other "drop-in" center services.
Currently, the House and Senate budgets include important provisions that we hope will be part of the final budget:
- HB1: Includes an increase of $7 million per year for the Services to At-Risk Youth (“STAR”) program, which is in the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) division of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) in Article II of the budget.
- SB1 Rider 41: Permits PEI to use $1.5 million per year of a STAR increase to support services for homeless youth in the eight largest cities of Texas.
Texas Appleseed and TNOYS are working to encourage the members of the budget conference committee, who are working to determine the final state budget, to keep both these provisions in the final budget.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Call Key Members of the Conference Committee to encourage them to keep these provisions in the state’s final budget:
Senator Jane Nelson: (512) 463-0112
Senator Charles Schwertner: (512) 463-0105
Representative John Zerwas: (512) 463-0657
Representative Sarah Davis: (512) 463-0389
Here’s a Sample Script:
“Hello, my name is _____, and I live in ________. Please keep important funding for services for homeless youth in the Texas budget. Keep the $7 million in increased funding included for Services to At-Risk Youth in the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) division of the Department of Family and Protective Services in Article II of HB 1, and SB1 Rider 41, which permits PEI to use $1.5 million per year of the STAR increase to support services for homeless youth. Texas’ youth are too important to the future of our state to allow them to fall through the cracks into homelessness or human trafficking.”
infographic, which features some important facts about the challenges confronting youth who are homeless.
Original Post: January 27, 2017
Increase Supports for Homeless Youth
Youth lacking a safe, secure, and stable place to live impacts their health and schooling, and can result in long-lasting negative outcomes. Texas Appleseed wants to ensure that lawmakers are aware of the systemic failures that push youth into homelessness and the services and supports youth need to get off the streets. Texas Appleseed will help fill these knowledge gaps about this important population by publishing a Homeless Youth policy report and providing general education and outreach to policymakers surrounding youth homelessness in Texas.
For a full list of our priorities, click here.